I recently sat down with Francesca Anastasi for an episode of her Succeed Against The Odds Show and expanded on some common challenges between smaller and larger companies (with some tips to overcome them)! Don’t miss it!
Where did the inspiration for retro chic Hotel Zed come from?
As a business traveler on the road I was always amazed at how boring hotels could be… where was the fun?! On those trips I started dreaming up ideas as to how to transform a hotel into a completely unordinary experience. I coupled this with a love of mid century modernism and Hotel Zed was born.
Accent Inns is a family business. What #1 piece of advice do you have for others working in a family business?
The success my father and I have had in our family business is due to mutual respect and lots of love. We got creative as to how to make it work for both of us and made sure that we always had each other’s best interests at heart. We still do and it has been such a wonderful experience to have your dad as your not only your business partner but your friend.
Have you had a mentor or been a mentor? Should everyone have one? Why or why not?
Everyone should be a mentor and have a mentor. I find that the young people I mentor always end up teaching me way more than I’ve ever taught them; I’m really just there to give them encouragement when their doubts start taking over their heads.
What sparked your love of bikes?
I adore being out in the woods on my mountain bike. It’s a great place to think and spend time with loved ones.
What book(s) are you reading right now and what have you learned from them?
I’m the type of person that has a few books on the go, depending on what mood I’m in. Tim Ferris‘ Tools of Titans is pretty killer. It has so many little gems in it that either spark ideas or inspire me to do things differently. And The Awakened Family is a book on Conscious Parenting that is useful for being more mindful in all aspects of my life, not just parenting.
If you were to give a piece of advice to someone opening a business, what would you say?
The most important marketing is the actual product.
If you had to pick two of your top business focuses everyday, what would they be?
I love innovating and coming up with a crazy idea, noodling it around, bouncing it off other people and then building a plan of implementation. Second business focus is thanking my amazing team for the stellar job they do. They run an awesome company, I just cheer them on.
On social media, who do you follow and what influences do they have?
I am not really on social media as I find it distracts me from my goals. I do however seek out podcasts from Tara Brach on Mindfullness (perfect for folding the laundry). She inspires me to stop narrating a bizarre story in my head and open to the beauty of right here right now.
Have you had any major setbacks? If so, what were they and how did you overcome them?
I believe that out of any misfortune can come an opportunity for awesomeness. I applied this to my life in many instances that were without a doubt positive game changers for me yet at the time they were catastrophes: flunking out of a 4th year university class in my last semester, giving birth to a stillborn, overcoming an eating disorder. These “disasters” are some of the best things that ever happened to me. They instilled a resilience and strength in me that is fierce yet still soft.
As an Honorary Captain in the Canadian Navy, tell us a bit about your military experience and how it ties into your business.
What a crazy ride I am on! I have no previous military experience and honestly, this does not tie into my business at all. What I love about the position of Honorary Captain is that I am serving the men and women who serve all of us Canadians. It is my chance to say thank you and let them know how grateful we are as Canadians for the amazing job they do keeping our commerce waterways safe, our waters free of drug dealers, first responders for any natural disaster, and so much more. It’s an honor to serve them.
What inspired you to transition from being a correctional officer to a business woman?
It’s quite an unusual inspiration. We moved from Ontario to Fort McMurray and at the time the jail was not open for business, so there was no job for me to transfer to. So I took a job as an Executive director of a women’s crisis facility/shelter and went back to school part time (then took a job with the government). Then I became a mediator and opened a mediation and consulting business.
When writing a book, what tools or exercises do you use to keep focused?
Dedicated time to actually write, otherwise life takes over and writing makes it’s way to the bottom of the pile of to do items. I also learned I am a way better talker than writer… so I talked my book. I recorded my whole book (me talking) then had it transcribed, and also used Dragon Speak.
What is your favorite part of speaking and going on tour?
Hands down… the people I meet, the relationships I build, and the opportunity to be so moved by the stories of the people I meet.
Is there a piece of advice or a quote that has inspired you?
I love Oscar Wilde who said “be yourself because everyone else is already taken” (although I recently heard he did not coin that quote). Whoever created this brilliance, I love it! As a formerly shy kid who never fit in… this quote reminds me every day that I don’t have to be someone else. I just have to be me.
What is your biggest business goal?
Right now it is to scale the business in even a bigger way. My overall guiding mission is to help one million people raise their dreams!
Have you had any setbacks that have made your business stronger or wiser?
Sooooooo many learning experiences and mistakes that turned into blessings. The things that have created setbacks are: jumping ahead without a plan, working alone instead of with other people (it takes a team to raise a dream) and trying to push the wrong goal uphill. When I am off purpose this is how it feels.
When you started your business, is there anything you know now that you wish you knew then?
Yes, I could write ten books on this. I would have asked for help sooner and built my team earlier on.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement to date?
Being able to design a life I love, working with people I adore and who we bring out the best in each other, and being married to my best friend for 23 years.
What is your favorite business quote?
It takes a team to raise a dream! (By Rebecca and Charmaine)
Connie Buna will be one of the featured speakers at the upcoming Women in the Spotlight Dinner presented by Pink Velvet Couch Productions and Pamela Chatry at the Best Western Plus Chateau Granville in Vancouver, BC on September 27th.
How did you know you wanted to become a realtor and a lead singer?
Music has always been a part of my life. I come from a musical family where singing and playing music together was an almost daily occurrence. To be honest, prior to singing in Queer As Funk, I’d never been in a band. This experience has come about out of a series of serendipitous events paving the way to a really incredible opportunity.
When I purchased by first home I was 25 years old and had recently graduated university with an ever-so-marketable Political Science degree. I was working at Bell Canada in a sales capacity and was really impressed by the care and diligence of our Realtor. What occurred to me at the time was that he was doing a job that clearly required a high degree of skill and care, however I too could do this work. Being a Realtor has allowed me to take complete control of my career and my opportunities as an entrepreneur.
How do you juggle the two passions while maintaining a family?
Juggling is the perfect analogy to describe the balance between owning a brokerage, running a real estate team, singing in a band and being a mother and wife. One word: leverage, makes this possible. I have surrounded myself with people who believe in a shared vision and together we can handle all of the work that is required to keep these areas healthy, successful and thriving. Very truly none of this would be possible without the unwavering support of my wife Taryn who is my closest confidant. She genuinely keeps our keeps our ship sailing on an even keel. This stability allows everything else to be possible.
What’s your biggest achievement in your business?
Keller Williams Realty is the largest Real Estate Company in the world. My biggest business achievement thus far has been opening the first Keller Williams brokerage in Vancouver, BC.
What are the most important skills to have in leading and motivating people?
Talk less, listen more and lead by example.
What is your goal for your real estate dreams?
I have a number of different goals with respect to real estate. For our brokerage, we will be the agency of choice for Realtors that want to build a stable and reliable real estate business build on a foundation of cutting-edge technology and continual education. For our real estate practice, to continue to service our clients with the utmost still and care, while pushing the industry in a direction where we can all be proud of the professionalism and expertise we offer to the marketplace.
What inspires you to keep going in your day-to-day business life?
My inspiration is in the people around me who share my vision. We are working hard together to make an impact on our families, our community and our industry.
Are you currently reading any books that inspire you?
I’m reading an excellent book right now called “Never Split the Difference” by Chris Voss. It’s a fantastic book by a former hostage negotiator and FBI agent that shares practical negotiation tools that you can use from the boardroom table to the kitchen table.
On social media, who do you follow?
I’m all over the map with who I follow on Social Media. I love Frances Bula, Imani Gandy, Lanefab, Roxane Gay, Anna Kendrick, VancouverIsAwesome, and Scout Magazine to name a few.
If you could go back in time, what piece of advice would you give yourself before entering the world of business?
Set BIG GOALS! Focus on abundance, not scarcity.
What’s your favorite business quote?
“Work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls– family, health, friends, integrity– are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered.” Gary Keller
How has failure helped you?
Failure is an amazing teacher. It keeps me humble, focused and determined. We are failing forward every day.
Tell us a little about how your band came to be.
Our band came together as a few good friends getting together for drinks and laughing about an audacious idea. At my wedding, around that same time, I sang a song to my wife. It was a song and a style of singing totally out of my comfort zone and to the surprise of all of my friends and family (and me too frankly) I can really belt out a tune. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Connie is an entrepreneur with a passion for housing stability, LGBTQ/2S rights and social justice. As a brokerage owner she is changing the business of Real Estate in Vancouver one agent at a time. Keller Williams Realty is built upon a foundation of education, ethical business practice and collaboration.
As a Realtor, Connie is best known for her integrity, strategic insight and commitment to the best interest of her clients above all else. Connie is also an entertainer in the popular Vancouver-based cover band Queer as Funk and delights in getting a room off their feet, dancing and singing to soulful tunes both old and new. Connie lives in Vancouver with her wife Taryn and their daughter Maelle.
Join us September 27th at the Women in the Spotlight Dinner at the Best Western Plus Chateau Granville and hear more from Lori Joyce and Connie Buna!
I had the chance to ask upcoming Woman of Insight speaker Claire Booth about her perspectives on business and life in general. Claire will be the featured speaker at the upcoming March 7th Woman’s Advantage® Woman of Insight Dinner. Join us to learn more about Claire’s story, and to connect with other successful business women!
When you started your business, what is the one thing you now know that you wish you’d known then?
Hire before you think you need to. As a small business, it is impossible not to keep a close eye on expenses. But it is important to apply that same diligence to growth as well. If you know who the right hire is, or if the right person presents themselves, hire them!
How has failure made a positive difference in your business (or life)?
I once heard someone say “failure is success deferred” and that has resonated strongly with me ever since. I used to get really down on myself when I “failed” – there were many nights spent listening to my hamster wheel brain spin on the failure de jour. But, I went through a few of them and realized my business continued to grow and the hamster wheel started to slow down. I have learned so much from failure that I don’t use the word any more. There is no such thing. To me, “failure” is an experiment.
What would you say is your greatest achievement to date?
Two things – building the Lux Insights team and having a significant impact on my employees’ personal and professional growth. The second achievement is a fundamental shift in how I look at the world. Three years ago I said “Enough!” to feeling perpetually anxious and worried, and, with the help of teachers, coaches, books and retreats, transformed my mental outlook. It is a journey just begun, but meditation, writing and studying continues to help me break free of my “mind prison” and I look forward to helping others do the same.
When working towards a goal, how do you stay committed?
I am a big believer in accountability. By announcing what you are working towards, whether it be to yourself in writing, your team, your friends or family, you are making something known. When people hear the passion in your voice, they will naturally continue to ask you it and I find this motivating. I have monthly day-long meetings with a group of CEOs, I’ve been with the group for over 5 years. Work-wise, they keep me accountable. At Lux, everyone has their own professional and personal goals and we make these very visible so people can help and encourage each other. All that said, what is more important to me than reaching the goal, is the process, learning and behavior along the way. I’ve spent too much of my life focused on hitting a target at work or accomplishing a particular rock climbing grade that I’ve missed so much fun and enjoyment along the way. If you have a goal and you know what it’s going to take to get you there AND you enjoy and learn from the getting there, the process can be delightful.
What book(s) are you currently reading? What do you love about them?
I’m re-reading Ram Dass’ Be Here Now and I love reading it because it is literally mind-blowing. Like, it hurts my head. I love memoirs, particularly if they involve spiritual transformation and/or some epic physical undertaking outdoors. I often find these books really motivating because of the author’s commitment and discipline. I recently read Carol Dweck’s Mindset. Dweck is a psychologist who talks about the difference between fixed and growth mindsets. The power of a growth mindset (where setbacks are just opportunities to learn) is unbelievable.
Who do you follow faithfully on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter? Why?
I don’t. I stopped using Facebook years ago and never got onto Instagram. I check Twitter a few times a week when I’m bored. I would like to break this habit. I’d rather spend that time reading a newspaper, book, writing or just being quiet.
What’s your favorite business quote?
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change.” This is Wayne Dyer. I haven’t read his books, but I know the quote is true.
Claire Booth is the owner and President of Lux Insights, a market research firm offering qualitative and quantitative research services and consulting. Lux clients include Fitbit, WD-40, Nintendo, Tyson Foods, The Oppenheimer Group and Vancity. Claire launched Lux in 2009 after ten years with Ipsos, one of the world’s largest research companies. She was recently recognized as a Top Three Finalist for the Northshore Chamber’s Business Person of the Year.
As Chair of The Woman’s Advantage® Forum, Vancouver, I am pleased to be hosting this fabulous upcoming Woman of Insight Dinner.
A Woman of Insight is an inspirational, self-made woman who has built a highly profitable business. Get up close and personal with a dynamic and inspiring business leader. Hear how she did it, what she learned, and what she wants you to avoid. Join us, and get inspired to take your business to the next level of success!
Date: March 7th, 2017
Location: The Best Western Chateau Granville
*Early Bird Pricing until Feb 27th*
Courtesy of Juliet Austen, Marketing Consultant and Copywriter for therapists and natural health businesses
Dr. Vanessa Lapointe, guest speaker at our May Woman of Insight VIP Dinner, was featured in a recent Businesses in Bloom podcast. Businesses in Bloom was created (and is hosted) by Juliet Austen, and focuses on therapists, holistic practitioners, wellness and natural health businesses and their journeys of success.
See below for a summary of Juliet’s interview with Vanessa, or you can listen to the whole interview here and hear about the incredible work Dr. Lapointe is doing.
Dr. Vanessa Lapointe story of building her private therapy practice with 10 associates is a textbook example of how to build a business. She knew from the beginning that she did not have business and marketing skills and therefore hired a business coach to help her start off with a strong foundation with a clear message. From there, she started offering workshops to organizations and built strong relationships with other professionals in her community.
Dr. Lapointe offers 80 workshops a year and one of her therapists now works as a community manager maintaining relationships with referral sources. If you want to know how to build a business do exactly what she has done – have a “dogged determination” and genuinely build strong relationships with others.
[2:46] Vanessa says that she was drawn to work with children because of the untainted passion that children have.
[4:14] Vanessa shares her perspective on children and parenting. She states how profound it is when you look at what children’s behavior is telling you and then respond to them on that level.
[7:07] Vanessa discusses the impact devices are having on children’s development.
[9:15] Vanessa shares that she and her staff offer 80 workshops and year.
[12:34] Vanessa explains the supportive services offered by other professionals in her clinic and how she has partnered with a yoga business to offer yoga classes for children and families.
[14:04] Vanessa discloses how she balances her life with work and her family.
[16:54] Vanessa shares the workshops that she offers for community organizations.
[19:48] Vanessa shares the history of their business, how she came into it and when and where it started.
[22:19] Vanessa describes how she started building her business and the importance of hiring a business coach.
[26:11] Vanessa explains her strategies for networking and building relationships with professionals in her community.
[32:28] Vanessa describes the marking materials she uses in building her business.
[36:18] Vanessa talks about her experience marketing her business online.
[43:15] Vanessa says that the most difficult aspect of managing her business is time management. She shares how she manages her time.
[46:18] Vanessa gives advice to others starting a business – have “dogged determination.”
Bio-Dr. Vanessa Lapointe, Registered, Psychologist- Vancouver, BC
Dr. Vanessa Lapointe is a registered psychologist and founder of The Wishing Star Developmental Clinic who has supported families and children for more than 15 years. Based on extensive research and professional expertise, Dr. Lapointe shares how through dependence can a child’s true independence emerge, and regularly speaks at Canadian and international conferences on childhood development and psychology. She is author of the book, “Discipline Without Damage.” She lives in Vancouver, B.C. Further information: www.drvanessalapointe.com
1. Was working in the family business always part of your career goals?
We travelled extensively all over the world for 25 years. We started our business when we returned to North America. Our children were teenagers and we wanted the opportunity to have flexible schedules and to be able to travel with our children’s competitive sport commitments.
2. Do you feel there’s a difference in career projection by working with family?
In our family business we are collaborating with people we trust and care about. I feel this is a nurturing environment and gives all our family members self-confidence. Our work environment is very relaxed and flexible. We all understand that we are in this together and are working toward a common goal. I believe this brings the best out in all of us.
3. With Schooley Mitchell only charging a fee if you’ve saved money for a company, how would you say this is different than traditional sales?
In traditional sales, money is exchanged for services or goods. In our business model, we add to our clients’ bottom line and our fee is derived from money already being paid to the providers.
4. Do you feel you have to work differently than your male counterparts to acquire clients because you’re a woman? If yes, how so?
I believe we each have unique characters and we sell everyday in all aspects of our lives. I like to learn about my prospective clients’ businesses and educate them on our services. If there is a match, then I like to think that a mutually beneficial partnership is derived.
5. How did you grow your expertise in this vast industry? Did you go along traditional routes of education?
My education is in business; however, as the telecom industry is forever changing I am continually involved in continued education through courses, workshops, webinars, industry periodicals and conferences.
6. What was your greatest business challenge? How did you handle it?
My greatest business challenge has been the inability to grow my business as I’ve been so busy doing all the work. Through the support of the amazing women in my WAF, I’ve been able to put systems and processes in place that have allowed me to focus my resources on growth.
7. What advice would you give to a woman starting her own company?
It is hard work, be ready to ride the rollercoaster, surround yourself with great support and the journey is amazing!
Eszter Farkas is an independent consultant leveraging her 15 years of experience in Telecom audits and Merchant Services to increase profits for clients. She spent 25 years working on energy projects all over the globe. One of the biggest expenses she encountered continually was the telecom spend both on a personal and on a project wide basis. Moving back to North America, she realized that telecom had become an integral part of business; however, companies focusing on their core business could not keep up with the ever changing telecom industry and were typically spending 35% more on their telecom costs than they needed to.
Eszter monitors the telecom market place and, through proprietary software tools, offers the most competitive prices. This saves clients not only money but also valuable time, allowing them to focus on their business and giving them the knowledge and security that their telecom costs are optimized in todays competitive marketplace.
I feel so fortunate to have the privilege of speaking to so many incredible women who have found success. Glynnis Osher is yet another example of a woman who has transformed herself and found success (multiple times!) doing so.
At what point in your previous (stressful) job, did you realize that you needed to leave and embark on something new?
I was an art director in New York, but I didn’t feel like it had meaning. I loved the creative side but I wasn’t doing anything great for the world. A lot of the accounts I dealt with were pharmaceutical and cosmetics (Lancombe, L’Oreal). The philosophy wasn’t aligning with me, so I went to study Ayurvedic medicine in Seattle. I eventually quit my job and went to India.
Did you quit and start afresh or, begin The Mystic Masala gradually? What was the transition like?
When I was living in New York it was happening on the side. I was in and out of advertising while developing a product line and building relationships with a women’s collective in Nepal. I travelled back and forth between New York and Seattle but ended up moving from New York to Vancouver. At that time I committed to Mystic Masala. I had already been selling products to stores in New York, but had to start again in Canada. Pamela Chatry’s support helped me to grow the business.
What tools or principles did you take from your previous career and apply to The Mystic Masala?
I designed all my own packaging since I had advertising savvy about putting out a product line. It was a blessing and a curse; it ended up being a one-person show. Now I know it can’t be all on my own – it was a good lesson.
What was a pivotal learning experience (negative or positive) while building your brand?
You really can’t do it all; you can’t control every part of business. I didn’t know where to begin to find a way to build a team. Assistants are important, but a business manager or someone more knowledgeable in specific areas than you is also important. I had on too many hats.
What are a few takeaways in building a successful business from the ground up?
For a creative entrepreneur, having structure is very important. That and a business plan – get solid groundwork in place or hire someone to help you do it. You must be the leader and learn every aspect, but that doesn’t mean you need to do every aspect. I also learned that there’s a right time to sell a company. When I sold Mystic Masala, I was at a point where I had to either go really big or close the doors.
I’m now doing business differently with The Spice Life because I have a partner. We have very complimentary skills – she’s savvy in finances while I specialize in creative and advertising. Working together we can take the business to a bigger level than we could as individuals.
I also realized I used to be very attached to specific creative ideas, now I’m much more open to seeing the bigger picture. Is that creative idea actually viable? It might serve your ego but not your business. I learned the lesson of letting go of something beautiful. You’ll never know what the next beautiful thing will be if you don’t walk away from something beautiful that isn’t necessarily serving you. I compare it to holding on to a beautiful pair of shoes that hurt your feet.
About Glynnis Osher
Glynnis is on faculty at the Vancouver School of Bodywork & Massage teaching Ayurvedic self-care, aromatherapy, and Indian Head Massage. She founded The Mystic Masala Ayurvedic Aromatherapy Inc., an aromatherapy company that she sold in 2015.
Glynnis has refocused her energy on launching The Spice Life, another of her business dreams. The Spice Life will offer an uplifting on and offline learning experience in the art and science of Ayurvedic aromanutrition. Glynnis has been mixing up spice blends, potions and lotions in her kitchen apothecary from a very young age and she loves to work with the wisdom of the aromatic herbs, spices, and flowers where beauty in nature is an inspiration for her.
Glynnis is co-author of the book Your Irresistible Life: 4 Seasons of Self-Care through Ayurveda and Yoga Practices that Work.
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